Contractors · Outsourcing

Contract advice needed for hiring a programmer as an Independent Contractor

Amelia Dunne Always launching, marketing and growing great companies

July 25th, 2014

When hiring a lead developer (who will work on his own as an independent contractor for at least the first phase) to build the first version of a web app for a new startup, what terms should be included in the contract? Are there any good/recommended resources for example or template agreements/contracts of this nature? Also any insights/lessons learned from past experiences with agreements of this type would be great. 

Will Tran

July 25th, 2014

There is 2 really important things. 1. Make sure all IP belongs to the company. 2. Make sure that coder signs a confidentiality agreement. The rest is to CYA pertaining to deadlines and payment.

Phillip Mobin Founder and Chief Wish Maker at WishExpress

July 25th, 2014

I have a template if you like.  Important is the intellectual property section to make sure there are no issues post the services.  Also, you have to be extremely specific about what the delivery is otherwise it will not end well.

Eric Sullivan CEO at FoundationLab

July 30th, 2014

Besides all the legal and so forth.  I have been on both sides of the coin both being hired by clients and working with outside resources.  One of the biggest pain points is really scope creep and not spending enough time detailing out the exact requirements of the project.  A lot of times developers rush to close a deal but don't spend enough time researching and really thinking through everything involved and you as (I am assuming) a non technical person do not understand frameworks and database structure etc are relying on their expertise.  Really spend a good amount of time flushing out the idea and how you are looking for it to be built.  I might even suggest breaking up the project into smaller phases and take an agile development approach.  Another approach with developers I always take is to write out a few use cases for them to see how an end user will actually be using the application because they will think in terms of code and not usability.  I hope this helps and if you have any questions I can answer please feel free to reach out.

Brett CAIA Managing Director at Azimuth

July 26th, 2014

Make sure you get noncompete, non disclosure and - most importantly - work for hire clauses. Work for hire and invention assignment language is v important as you want to be 100% certain that the IP is yours and you can't have any prospect of the engineer coming back to try and claim ownership. You should pay for a lawyer to draft or at least review given this could be a critical issue. -------- Brett Odom, CFA CMA CAIA 202-386-8914

Steve Ciske Technology Leader

July 25th, 2014

  • Make sure you have demos weekly or bi-weekly on what was accomplished.  If you feel that progress is not being made then it's probably not.  The code should work.  
  • Have the developer log detail notes about what was accomplished each day.  
  • Hire a 3rd party consultant to audit code periodically.
Also, my business partner is out in San Francisco.  If you would like I could do an introduction and he can work with you directly on additional items.

Muzammil Karel Senior Engineer at ABB India Limited

July 25th, 2014

Hi Amelia, You can contact Mr. Hassan Syed who is Founder of Ideagist and also takes development projects on softwares. His email id is best regards

Amelia Dunne Always launching, marketing and growing great companies

July 28th, 2014

Thanks for all of this great information and the great resources! Excellent info.

Jason Woodlee Part Time CTO , Technologist with 20yrs experience

July 25th, 2014

Head over to and take a look there are great examples